New world order
May 05 2011
Making music is not the same no more. Today you can cut an album in India with a guitarist in Japan, a drummer in the UK and a keyboardist in Russia. The internet has given musicians a whole new world to explore
Artistes who don’t speak with words and believe in expressing their emotions through their preferred medium of choice such as painting, music and dance, have found a new voice through the internet. Music, in particular, has really benefitted from the internet which has opened exciting new doors by connecting people and allowing them to create music, then market and promote it online.
Delhi’s Keshav Dhar, 24, who started recording under the name Hydrodjent three years ago, changed the name of his one-man band to Skyharbor just before the end of last year and is awaiting the release of his debut album. Dhar has really made it big by grabbing the attention of Marty Friedman, former guitarist of thrash metal gods Megadeth and Dan Tompkins, virtuoso vocalist of the progressive UK metal act, TesseracT. Both Marty and Dan stumbled upon Keshav’s music online and mailed him, expressing their desire to collaborate with him.
Soon enough, Dhar emailed a track to both of them and after Freidman recorded a guitar solo at his home studio in Japan, Tompkins laid down the vocals from the UK and the track ‘Catharsis’ was released in the UK with an issue of the magazine Metal Hammer.
Music collaboration basically requires
two things — recording software and a way to share music files with other people who would like to contribute to the project. This is where the internet comes in. Generally, the first step of any music collaboration is taken when an artiste records a track then uploads it on to a forum or an online bulletin board where other artistes may access it.
This is a wonderful way of meeting like-minded musicians one would love to have on board for his or her project as the other artistes can download the track, make comments on it and import it into their recording software. They can then add their own tracks to the recording. The new mix can be then uploaded back to the bulletin board where it can be discussed and downloaded by others. This process continues until all participants feel the project is complete.
A pianist, guitar player, audio engineer and producer, Dhar considers the internet to be ‘seriously amazing’ as he received a lot of important feedback when he first started posting his home recordings on forums like Harmony Central, Andy Sneap and MySpace. “And when you come to think of it, who doesn't like to give advice?” he says. These useful suggestions from people across the globe helped him improve his songwriting and recording. Guided by an extremely supportive family, after working with a company called Grey and Saurian, Keshav figured the only way he could have a sustainable future as a musician was ‘to practice it commercially’. Hence these days he has a day job of making advertising jingles and recording bands from his home to make money that goes into his studio gear.
Amit Raj Kashyap, former drummer of the successful local rock band ‘Nakshatra’, began playing drums at the age of nine and never gave up on music, even going as far as leaving academics for almost a decade to study music. After topping all-India grade 8 in drums from Trinity (1999), Delhi, and establishing a career as a freelance musician playing for various bands like Arth, Honey drippers and Groove Adda, Amit is now associated with Delhi Public School in Sushant Lok, Gurgaon, and continues to create and impart good music there.
Like Keshav, Amit too considers the internet to be a ‘blessing and a beautiful way to stay in touch with the world’. Even though he agrees “the internet has its evil side like everything else”, it routinely allows him to keep up to date with the changing face of music and has taught him everything he now knows about sound engineering. Having worked for many bands in India as well as abroad to earn a living, Amit is currently working on his first solo record entitled ‘Illusions Decoded’, co-produced and engineered by his brother Sumit Raj. After persevering through challenges related to editing and composing, he has been creating midi- files and ring tones for many big service providers in India and continues to inspire young minds through music.
Another Indian who has successfully harnessed the power of the internet to make a dent on the surface of the underground music scene is the one-man army, Vishal J Singh of the progressive death/experimental project based in Mumbai called Amogh Symphony. A guitarist, drummer and keyboardist, Vishal continues to work with artistes such as Noesis from Chicago, Sleep Terror from Seattle, the Japanese Chapman Stick player/music producer Daisuke, Korean electro-percussionist/ multi-instrumentalist Chung Reeh for Project Cyberasia (Tokyo) and groove maestro drummer Jim Richman (Washington).
For his debut album ‘Abolishing The Obsolete System’, Vishal recorded everything by himself and was able to get in touch with composer, singer and guitarist Prashant Vadhyar and Ramki of Chicago based death metal band ‘Noesis’ who lent his vocals to the album. Having worked on the EP for five years Vishal agrees that “lots of patience and time is required to play such music. Convincing other members to follow your writing and expecting them to read your mind to understand everything is one of the toughest things to do.”
Asked about the current situation of underground music in India, Vishal laments “there is no money in progressive music. Indian music industry is a peculiar one and many great session players and music composers are living a financially weak life.” Perhaps this is why apart from all these metal projects, he has also dabbled in commercial music and is known as the creator of famous jingles for TV ads such as the theme for Delhi Daredevils and Complan. Just like Amit, Vishal too, regularly imparts knowledge of music programming and production to the masses and can be contacted through Facebook.
In this day and age, almost everyone wants a piece of the internet pie. With websites like SoundCloud, MyOnlineBand, Grooveshark and many more promoting musical collaborations, allowing you to register for free and buy more disk space if you run out of the automatically assigned one for song and track storage, everyone has a chance to make a band online and get heard. You may not be able to get Dave Grohl on drums, Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton on guitar and the likes of Eddie Vedder or Chris Martin of Coldplay on vocals, but thanks to the internet, you can certainly get noticed and contacted by them. And, who knows, you might get a call to collaborate with them on their future projects. So if you are a lonely guitarist or a forlorn drummer, bound within the four walls of your room and feeling uninspired and annoyed about not getting your ‘big break’, remember that you are not alone. Let your music reach out to the world; let the internet give wings to your songs.